Ranjit Singh Boparan has warned the “pingdemic” staffing crisis is just a small part of unprecedented pressures on supplies, with food shortages already being felt.

The industry tycoon known told Sky News food supplies were under threat because of a wider shortage of skilled workers, such as butchers, in the wake of Brexit.

Boparan, who owns 2 Sisters Food Group (2SFG) and a string of casual dining brands including Carluccio’s, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Slim Chickens, said a string of challenges had created a “perfect storm” for the sector, warning of the prospect of the worst food shortages since rationing at the end of the Second World War.

“If you look at the furlough scheme, you’ve got 2.3 million people on the furlough scheme yet we’re short of people within the food sector,” he said.

“A shortage of drivers is just one element of the supply chain, a very important element which is being made very public, but if you just times up by 100, that’s the labour shortage that we’re facing in the food industry, not just the poultry industry - the food industry today - and is something that we need to address.

“Just look at the supply chain, the supply chain starts from the farm.

“If [we are] short of labour on the farms, we’re not going to get the product. If we manage to get it from the farms to the factories and we are short [of] labour there, we’re not going to get it to the depots.

“If we do manage to get to the depots and they can’t get the staff there, they’re not going to get on to lorries. If we are short of drivers, and they can’t get to the supermarket shelves - that’s another problem.

“If you haven’t got the people in the supermarkets to put the product on the shelves… you just think about all the supply chain - you just need one element not to work and at the moment there’s several elements that are not working.”

On the prospect of disruption to turkey supplies, he added: “How do you expect a thousand workers to come in to provide turkeys at Christmas. It’s not going to happen.”